tv Consider This Al Jazeera November 27, 2013 9:00am-10:01am EST
also leaders from all sides have spoken on the us-iran deal, but what about the world on the street in iran? also how are airlines dealing with the major storm on one of the busiest travel days of the year. and george clooney sounds off on electric cars. hello, i'm antonio mora, welcome to "consider this." does raising minimum wage boost some workers earnings while stopping others from finding a job. joining me now from pal low altoe, california is ron unz, a former candidate for governor of california. he submitted a proposal for a ballot initiative to raise the minimum raise to the secretary of state in california on tuesday. thank you for joining us. you are pushing to raise to
$10 an hour by 2014. you have been arguing for this for a couple of years now, but it is not the conservative position. >> i think it should be. if workers are paid a sufficiently good wage by their employers, they won't need to receive social benefits from their employers. >> why do we need a ballot initiative. jerry brown has signed into law a couple of minimum wage raises. why do we need to go higher? >> well, i was very glad to see those steps taken, but i don't think the increase is large enough. in other words there have been studies done showing the cost of living in california counting housing is 30% above the national average. if that's true then a $10 minimum wage in california is
only a $7 figure for the country, less than the federal minimum wage, and it would only take place in 2016. so i think we need a higher minimum wage and we need it sooner. many democrats wanted a higher figure, i think, but they weren't able to get it through the legislator. >> but even the higher minimum wage that you ro proposing would barely get an individual above the poverty line. >> exactly. i think $12 an hour for california is a very reasonable starting goal. >> but again one of your objectives is you say by giving people a living wage you can get them off of the welfare they need to survive and that will save taxpayers money. >> exactly.
this two wage earners each work a minimum wage job at $12 an hour, between the two of them they are getting close to $50,000 a year. >> and you are using some of initiative? >> absolutely. >> do you think you will get people to help you? >> i think there is a high likelihood of that. what this proposal would do is increase the incomes of working californians by $15 billion a year. the money would go to families that spend every dollar they earn and would provide a huge fiscal boost for the state's economy. i think it would really help finally revive our economy after this terrible recession. >> so what do you say to people like the california chamber of commerce that labeled governor
brown's bill a job killer? and if we look at a cueto job study say they. . .. >> well, i think some of those arguments are valid, but you have to look at the details and see whether they really apply or not. make wal-mart. a lot of wal-mart workers earn very low income, 8, $9 an hour. if wal-mart were forced to raise all of their workers salaries to $12 an hour, their expenses would only go up by 1%. the average wal-mart shopper would only send an extra $12 a year, while the workers would suddenly have enough money that they could shop at wal-mart and
i think it would be a huge boost to wal-mart's revenue because their customer base would be able to buy more products. >> you have tried to reduce illegal immigration. is part of your motivation that you think that by raising the minimum wage it will actually encourage americans to take those jobs and -- and be less tempting for people to come to the united states illegally. >> i generally have a very pro proimmigrant background. but a huge group of impoverished workers, we are driving down the
minimum wage. >> most americans certainly support what you are suggesting and polls have shown that, but according to the bureau of labor statistics, just over 3.5 million workers last year earned at or below the federal minimum. so if you are talking about such a small part of the american work force, how big of an impact -- how big of an impact in the bigger picture can raising the minimum wage have? this >> it would be enormous. especially when you are talking about a high minimum wage. the figures show that over 40% of american wage workers would get an increase under $12 an hour. not only that, but the average increase in their income would be $5,000 a year. if you take a low-wage worker and you suddenly give him an extra $5,000 a year.
he'll send the money, he'll pay down his credit card debt and become much more of a successful member of our society. and that's the direction we have to go. efforts. >> great to be here. >> now to another growing concern for american workers. most americans get their health insurance through their employers, some 170 million people. they have been told repeatedly that they do not have to worry about obamacare. >> if you are one of the 80% of americans who is insured or covered through an employer plan there is no change for you except for an increase in benefits that everyone receives as the result of the affordable care act. this conversation doesn't apply to you. >> but 80 million people with employer health plans may have reason to worry. i'm joined
by mr. roy who served as health care advisor to mitt romney's presidential campaign. great to have you back on the show. most people get their health care insurance through their jobs, but this new study says that at least half of the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans. why is that happening? > it's a very simple study. because all they did -- and i talked about this in my blog several weeks ago. the administration gave its own estimates in june of 2010 where said the majority of plans would be canceled by 2015. it's a little bit different than the cancellations we have been hearing about on the individual market. because in the employer-sponsored market they will still have coverage in the future, but it will be a
different plan. expensive. >> right. so first this was something that was predicted by the obama administration and the architects of obamacare. that this was going to happen. >> correct. >> why? >> so the thing is there are these grandfather provisions in the law. and the grandfather provisions say if you have a plan prior to the enactmentment of the obamacare, you can keep that plan. but three or four years have gone by -- employers. >> yes. the difference though is that in the individual market when your old plan goes away, you are dependant on the obamacare website to shop for a plan. and when that website doesn't work, you are stuck without coverage. so what employers do is they work with brokers or directly with insurance companies, or
they self insure, and take care of that on behalf of the employee -- their employees, and they pay for your health plan. >> so what will it mean for that employee who sees his or her plan change? >> he might see higher preums, prior deductibles and copays for the plan, and there are things in the plan in terms of doctors and choices of hospital that might narrow. >> on the other hand might they not see better and cheaper plans too? >> probably not in the employer sponsored market. people typically have pretty comprehensive insurance that covers most healthcare services. so in the employment sponsored market, the increased cost isn't
going to be as disaster, but the change in the quality and scope of what you have covered is not going to be that much different. >> so do you see anything resembling the sue tsunami over what we have had? >> it's not going to be as drastic -- you are not going to hear these stories of people who lost their coverage and have nowhere to go. but if you are already struggling to make ends meet, and all of a sudden you are seeing your premiums go up, your copays go up, your deductibles go up, that's not what the president promised you. >> 2018 this cadillac tax for some of the better health care plans that are out there. where employers will have to pay basically a luxury tax. how many will be that? >> a considerable number of
people. now look if you talk to anyone in the think tank world, including me, they will all tell you that the cadillac tax is good policy. because today we oversubsidize, where your employer offers you coverage, you don't pay income tax state or local tax on that, so it is essentially a subsidy. >> and what about the hole issue that the affordable care act has managed to keep increases in many health care premiums lower? and that that has been an incentive for employers to keep health care plans. >> it's not a credible argument. the slowdown in health care spending started a long time ago, during the recession, really. so that is the biggest driver of
slowdown in health care spending. >> but before the recession, employers were dropping -- the increases were larger and employers were dropping health care plans. >> so the second component is that employers -- not so much dropping coverage, but they are increasing the deductibles, they are leading people to have higher deductible plans. that leads to individuals controlling their own health care dollars, but those two factors, the recession and that trend in employer coverage have driven the slowdown. it is not driven by the law. so the argument that that really has been driving this is speeches. >> and so much is changing and will continue to change. i hope you'll come back and talk to us about the next round. >> of course. >> good to see you. >> coming up what was the reaction to the iranian nuclear
excitement of the agreement wearing off, the question remains will the deal lead to real change or will those who standing to gain the most the iranian people once more see their hopes for the future fade away. joining us now is thomas, theater ran bureau chief of the "new york times." really appreciate you getting up so early in the morning to join us. now are the iranian people responding? has the emotion changed since the deal was first announced >> well, of course the initial happiness has sort of subdued, and people are waking up in what they call a new iran, but still they are very realistic that this new iran might not bring the better future they are hoping for. initially people were so shocked to hear good news.
you must imagine that iranians have been hearing only bad news over the past ten years. more sanctions, more unemployment, more inflation, threats of a war, so news of the deal being struck is really something new here. but again, two days onwards people are waking up after the party and saying to themselves, okay. now let's look forward, can this deal really lead to something or course. >> it is thought that the sanctions placed on iran were what brought the government to the negotiating table because of how the iranian people are suffering under the sanctions. just how bad is it? >> well, it's not as bad as you might think. it's not like back -- bagdad right before the u.s. invasion where people would, you know, have no food to eat, there would
be an oil for food program in place, and basically the country was completely isolated from the rest of the world, but iranians have really seen their standard of living decline. mainly the iranian middle class, big urban middle class that is about 70% of the iranian society. these people had been looking forward, had been transitioning from, if you will a more revolutionary society to a more regular middle class society to put it -- to put it very simply. people were focusing more on buying new frigs for their houses or new cars or getting education for their children than basically trying to go out demonstrate against the west or participate in any other revolutionary acts. so especially those people, the people that are the future of this country were very badly hurt by the inflation caused by mainly the u.s. sanctions.
they saw the value of the national currency lose considerably to the dollar with amounts ranging from 60 do over 100% loss. so if you would come here and buy a gallon of milk, it could cost you almost double that a year later, and that goes for all products ranging from airline tickets to a new couch to other things. people had to cut back on the way they were living. >> and that leads to tremendous insecurity and also the rampant bad unemployment. the middle class that you are talking about, do they just want the sanctioned eased or do they have reservations about the nuclear concessions their government has given as part of this deal? >> well, when i speak of the iranian middle class, i mean those people that -- those -- that 70%
portion of iranian society that live in or near cities, and they share the same values, and their values are they want to have middle class quiet lives just like anybody else everywhere in the world. so a lot of people support their leader's drive for -- for nuclear energy and also they -- they see -- they see it as unfair that -- that world powers are not allowing them to -- or not allowing their leaders to have an independent nuclear program. but at the same time a lot of people on the streets will come up to you and say look i have no influence on what my leaders say regarding this program. i have no influence on changing the way our leaders look towards the nuclear program. i want to live a normal life in which me, my family, and my children can have a better future. now if this has to be without a nuclear program, so be it? >> and what about the hard
liners, they seem to be fairly quiet in iran since the deal went through. hard liners in the u.s. are making more noise about strengthening the sanctions instead of weakening them, but how about the hard lines in iran? this >> well the united states and iran are two very different political systems. in iran on the top of the pyramid is the supreme leader. he has the final words in important domestic matters and important foreign policy matters. only hours after the deal was closed he came out a cautious message telling are the rouhani that if the deal was indeed in the way his negotiating team had portrayed it, then he would be supporting such a deal. now this doesn't mean that the hard liners who are loose alliance of revolutionaries
completely accept the deal and the outcome. they are now biding their time, waiting to see what this deal will actually turn into. because this is not the end of the negotiations. we're at the beginning of the negotiations. in the coming months, iran and the six powers will face many difficult talks in which they will have to hammer out deals. these hard liners, i must mention they will not powerless. they actually control every power center in iran beyond the -- the government. they control the judiciary the security forces, the state tv. if they want to, they can mobilize many people on the streets against this deal, and for now they are waiting to see how the deal turns out. >> we'll have to wait and see what happens there. thomas we really appreciate you bringing us the
per speperspective from tehran. now let's move to how much of our nation's history is being kept under lock and key and out of the public eye? ooze the amount of data out there reaches new heights can our government afford to keep collecting and classifying as much as it does. we're joining by james warren, the washington bur -- burrow chief. fascinating piece, and you say that that one agency alone collects one pedbite. i have never even heard that year.
that is over 13 years of hd video. that's just one agency. what are they collecting? and how can anybody go through all of that information? this >> well, a well-placed source tells me that is the central intelligence agency who's information management systems director admits to six years ago having about 2 million pages of documents crossing his desk in a given year. that now in the year 2013, antonio, he says, is up to about 12 million. and if you wanted to go through that information the cia, you would need about 2 million full-time employees. again a four-drawer filing cabinet, imagine that, our old fashioned filing cabinet, 20
million of them filled with documents. what is in there? well, we're not exactly sure, but we know over the course of 50, 60 years, a culture of caution has been bread throughout the american government where folks ultimately in those agencies, you know, place a priority on avoiding risk, avoiding embarrassment rather than managing risk, and so it's easier to stamp classified or top secret on everything and then you have got no problem. unfortunately the victims of that are as you suggested history, a lot of stuff we don't know about our own history, and finally government accountability. a lot of stuff we don't know that we should know about what our government did, achievements and i suspect in a good many cases failures. >> so you really think it's a knee jerk reaction that the government classifies all of this information pretty much as
a hold over from the cold war? >> yeah. and there is an advisory panel five members picked by the president, four by the congress. very bipartisan group that has been working very harder for two or three years on this, has done an absolutely knockout, bipartisan, neutral report on this, and find the genesis of the problem in the cold war, and find that the cold war mentality of maintaining secrets has been maintained, and it's really been exacerbated by a bunch of other related matters, including the fact that most of these agencies have served as judge and jury -- >> and the cost is enormous? >> the cost -- the publicly stated costs at a meeting i went to last week because of sequester, wouldn't you believe,
antoine know, this is the first public meeting of the advisory panel. the cost is up past $11 billion. but here is the parenthetical there, that does not include the cost to any of our intelligence agencies like the cia, and national security agency. why? because their budgets are, classified. >> with so much ease of transmission of data these days, to be a devil's advocate shouldn't the government be more careful than ever about the information it keeps classified? >> oh, for sure. there was a terrific article by a guy who used to run the journal, making the case that amid all of the criticism they are getting when one looks at their internal manuals with how one should deal with snooping,
one could make the argument that they have become way too nervous. the problem is the substance of what you end up maintaining and the ultimate problem is there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of million of paper documents left over from decades and decades ago that we haven't been able to get to. and now there's this exponential growth the result of the digital age. george w. bush opened up in the library, there are 200 million emails. a friend of mine guesses when the obama administration is over, there will be about a 1 billion emails. >> unbelievable. and you have alluded to that, but the whole issue of history; that our history is hidden in many of these documents. and we're seeing documents only coming out down about the john f. kennedy sash accusation.
jim as always great to have you with us. >> my pleasure. >> have a great holiday. tonight. >> same to you guys. trending. >> on tuesday a group of protesters outside of the federal trade commission headquarters in washington, d.c. spoke out about the poeteden shall merger of america's two biggest funeral service providers the merger is expected to be approved by the end of the year which would give them 15% of the funeral services market in the us. a lot of people are worried that this will drive up already high funeral costs. according to the national funeral directors association, the average cost is just over $7,000. and consumer advocates say sci is already one of the most expensive providers. and now to your reaction . . .
great to have you here. >> good to be here. >> crazy week as always over thanksgiving and it seems like these storms justment come every single year, don't they? >> that's the thing about the holiday period, it always falls during storm time. so you have to preplan for it. you have to, if you can get your flight first thing in the morning because the storms build up as the day goes on. >> is there anything the airlines can do, really if they are faced with some of the busiest travel days of the year? >> some of them take presumptive action and cancel flights even before the storm has hit because they know it is going to be bad, and that way at least you don't spend thanks giving at the airport, but there's not much they can do except try to reschedule the thousands upon thousands of people. >> the problem is this doesn't just effect the area that are
hit by the storms, there is a real domino effect? you get ament doll know effect that stretches. if you have a storm on the east coast it is still going to effect people in in california. >> i don't think anybody would have expected that the first big storms would hit dallas. but planes got stranded there, and people in other parts of the country got stranded there. >> the airlines used to be very nice about giving you benefits, hotels, and meals if flights are delayed -- >> if it's the airlines fault, you can still get the hotels and meals, but if it's an act of god they don't owe you anything. if your flight is delayed or canceled get on the line and on the phone and if you can't get through to anybody on the
american call center, get on the internet and find their office in france or abroad, get somebody on the phone because all of those agents have the ability to rebook you, or buy a pass to the lounge. not only will you be more comfortable, but the people who work in those lounges are used to dealing with the high-paying business travelers. they have a lot of clout and may be able to get you on the plane. >> one thing that surprised me is cancellations of flights and delayed flights are getting worse. in 2012, 51,000 flights were canceled. this year already 70,000 flights have been canceled. what is going on? >> but that is still very small in terms of the percentage of overall flights. the airlines past year were padding a lot of flights.
a flight that would take two hours was clocked in at taking two and a half hours and then you would clock in early. in terms of cancellations they get fines if they keep you on tarmac now, so instead of risking that, they are canceling slightly more flights. >> one other big thing that came out is the prices for christmas travel this year are much higher than last year. >> yeah. >> i'm a victim of it myself. what happened? >> there are fewer planes in the sky and the airlines have been getting better at managing their inventory. in 2005 we had nine airlines, thanks to mergers will now have four, or we will soon. so there's less competition and they can charge whatever they
damn please. >> i fly virtually every week, and i can't remember the last time i had an empty seat on an airline. you say all of these mergers have lead to higher prices? this >> higher prices and fees. they made $27 billion in additional fees last year. that's become a major profit center. and a major headache with travelers. you try to sit next to your child on a flight and you find that in order to sit next to each other, you are going to have to pay extra. >> do you think the merger will be good for the industry? >> it perhaps will keep american -- or help it emerge from bankruptcy. but for most consumers it will be
bad. we have seen them cut service to smaller cities. prices have risen 15% since the mergers started. higher. >> there won't be any benefits? anything? >> i wish -- i wish i could be positive about this, but i don't see much upside to it. for business travelers there may be better connections. you may be able to use your miles in different ways that are positive. but for the average joe i think this is a bad thing. >> i'm looking forward to unites my miles -- >> right. but you'll have more competition to use them as well. >> true. and harder to get the seats which is a problem now for miles. >> it is harder and harder to use miles, you can get magazine subscriptions i hear. >> and another interesting thing
that the airlines are trying to do according to a group for all of the airlines, they want to customize fairs. if they know that you check your bag a lot, they are going to offer you a fair that includes that checked bag and maybe priority boarding. this will make it much more difficult for the consumer to compare apples to apples to try to see what the fairs should be. so that too is on the horizon if the department of transportation customization. >> so much going on. us. >> thank you. we'll be right back with some bad news for anyone under the age of 35. you may not be able to retire until much later. our data dive is up next.
>> we find the fault lines that run through communities. >> the shooting happened about 30 minutes ago. >> companies... >> the remains of the fire are still everywhere here. >> the powers that be at home and around the world... >> not only do they not get compensation but you don't even have to explain why? >> well thats exactly what i said. >> we question authority. >> so you said we could get access... >> that's enough! >> ... and those affected. >> investigative journalism at it's toughest.
♪ today's data dive focuses on the longer work lives of minnelals. the average student graduating from college will not be able to retire until they are 73 years old. that's a dozen years later than the current retirement age. so much for eyeing 65. the financial website, nerdwallet.com found the tickle grad starts out with about $23,000 in debt.
it's also tough to find a job. so they have heavy debt load that lees them with less than $25,000 in savings by the time they turn 33. the rough economy is changing the work force too. 40% of workers will be freelancers or temp employees by the next decade. that's 60 million people. they also want to find passion and meaning in their jobs so they may not see their job as something they would ever want to leave, so maybe late retirement would be so bad. what is clear with the average life expectancy at 84 they won't have much time to enjoy their golden years. coming up george clooney gets animated over electric cars.
tesla recently tied the rating on consumer satisfaction survey with a near perfect score. but it has recently come under fire literally. the ceo stressed the safety of the luxury sedan saying . . . but the national highway traffic administration has since opened an investigation. so do consumers have reason to be concerned. the gasoline powered cars are electric cars of future. joseph joins us from south field, michigan, and we have a 25-year-old owner of the electric car start up.
he holds the again us in world record for the fastest accelerating electric car. we see these three accidents that tesla had. are electric cars safe? >> yeah, of course they are. you have to consider that tesla has already sold and delivered over 20,000 cars of the modz - model s. so statistics there are going to be a few fires. given that the battery carries a lot less energy, we are talking aban order of magnitude of ten times less energy that a gas tank. you will be a lot less likely to be injured during the fire.
>> the obama administration set a goal of having a million electric cars on the road by 2013. statistics show that electric-only cars at this point make only .6% of the cars sold since the beginning of 2013. so joseph what is holding these cars back given their tremendous consumer appeal? >> number one is the cost, the cost of the batteries and the fact that the current technology does not deliver the kind of driving range that consumers have come to expect. you have got -- for the very reason that he alluded to that there's not as much energy in a battery as a tank of gasoline. there is a big problem right there. gasoline engines are still relatively speaking particularly in the united states gasoline is
relatively cheap. at about $3.50 a gallon plus or minus, gasoline is still not an expensive form of energy relative to the curre lithium ion technology. and a lot of people still find electric cars to be novel, maybe strange, maybe a little bit scary, and they don't know how to process the idea that the battery might catch fire, whereas with gasoline , people are inured to the idea that a gasoline car might sometimes catch fire. >> but with tax rebates these expensive. >> well, it depends. the nissan leaf with all of the tax breaks that you can possibly
get in certain localities, and with the cheap leases, the relatively cheap leases that nissan has been operating on the car. under certain circumstances you can drive this car almost for free. and this is where i think the problem of utility comes in. the car basically has a range in the real world of under 100 miles before you have to recharge it. and for a lot of people that's a show stopper. they are basically waiting if not version 3.0. >> talking about show stoppers george clooney got himself in the middle of the debate by saying he got rid of his tesla roadster because he got stuck on the side of the road for a
while. some cars only go 75 miles, and charging stations are still in short supply. >> we have to be realistic, and it's a relatively new technology in the mass market. so there are several issues which still have to be resolved but if you look at the average commute, it is less than 50 miles for 95% of the people. so you have to rethink when you think about electric cars. you start off enmorning with a fully charged battery from your home so you don't need to stop anywhere to recharge like you do now. so a 100-mile range covers most of your daily needs. the tesla model s can discharge the battery for a fully charged at the charging station for less than 3 minutes, so that's faster
gas. >> your concept one car is more like a lab bore genie in the world of electric cars. it has a sticker price of a million dollars. the tesla -- how far can your car go, and what do you hope to do with your company? >> the auto industry is dominated by companies that make cars for five decades or even a century. we exported the first car in the history of my country in january of this year, so we had to start somewhere, and you can't really start by mass producing cars. so we believe the technology is also great for making sports cars better and more fun, so
that's what i started to do five years ago in my garage, and now we are i think leader in in electric supercars. >> all right. you. >> 91% of our viewers said they would buy an electric car. 9% said no. statistics show, though, they are not buying. how soon do you think enthusiasm will translate into sales? >> it has been a little bit of a chicken and egg problem. the car manufacturers said there is no infrastructure, so we won't build cars. the utility companies said there are no cars on the road so why would we build charging structure, but it wouldn't change much and it would still be very much unchanged if there were no new players on the market which are shaking up also the big guys. you know the start-up -- the new
technology of electric cars gave the opportunity for new companies to join into the industry, which is usually very hard to join in. so new companies came in with new approach, and i think that's going -- you know, to accelerate the -- the -- the development, and offer new and exciting buy. >> i believe we have joseph white back. i'll address this question to you, joseph, what about the environmental concerns? even though the cars are zero emission, you obviously need electricity which needs fossil fuels in many cases to be generated and also there's the argument that the batteries require much more energy to produce than a normal gas car. so in the end is there an environmental benefit to these cars or not? >> there can be. but you are right.
if you are producing the electricity charging your electrical with a coal power plant i think there are a lot of people who would say you are not gaining that much. so i do think that you have to -- if you your concern is the carbon dioxide and the planet's atmosphere, you need to look at electric cars as part of a system. certainly, though, if your concern -- and there are a lot of people who think about this from the perspective of national security and energy security, and i have heard many people from that camp say, look, what we need to do is reduce our independence on oil and make ourselves more geo politically concerned. and that's why government policy not just in this country, chai and europe, has -- has spent so
much money and effort to try to promote this technology and get it over this chicken and egg hump that he described. >> a quick final question for you, joseph. prediction, five years from now? ten years from now? where will we be? the >> it's hard to say. i think five years from now i think it will be incremental. and ten years from now if there is a significant break through on battery cost, then this vision could come true. but people who sell internal combustion engineings are working hard. so it will be a real horse race. we'll see what happens. >> thank you both for joining us. the show may be over, but the conversation continues on our website, aljazeera.com/considerthis. we'll see you next time.